THE Zimbabwe Under 19 side leaves Sunday for Kenya to take part in the African Zone qualifying tournament for next year’s IRB Junior World Championship in Argentina.
Zimbabwe was initially scheduled to host the tournament at Prince Edward School in Harare, but the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) controversially moved it to Nairobi on baseless health risk grounds.
The Young Sables, coached by Brighton Chivandire, is captained by England-based scrumhalf Graham Kaulback. The squad contains six foreign-based players. The contingent from England also has vice-captain Brendon Chapman, who plays hooker or flanker for the Sussex Under 19s. Then there is flanker Marco Mama and his brother Dante Mama, a utility back.
Prop Brian Makamure is at St Andrews College in South Africa, while centre Matthew Swales turns for the University of Pretoria’s Tukkies club.
“The team is looking good,” said Kaulback. “We’ve got a few guys from last year and guys from this year’s Under 18 squad. It’s pulling together nicely. We’ve got a good balance. We have quick and tall men upfront, mixed with a fast and creative backline. It’s looking well-drilled.”
Remarkably, two of the squad’s players have already been capped by Zimbabwe’s senior national team. Talented flyhalf Danny Robertson played in two tests away to Zambia and Namibia last year, while hooker Dimitri Zaverdinos came off the bench on his Sables debut to score two tries against Madagascar in Botswana last week.
BY ENOCK MUCHINJO